Train derailment near Arizona-California border did not involve hazardous materials, railroad says
By Andi Babineau and Alaa Elassar, CNN
A train that derailed in western Arizona Wednesday evening was carrying corn syrup, the railroad said, after the county sheriff's office said it may have been carrying hazardous materials.
"BNSF Railway can confirm that a train carrying corn syrup derailed" around 7:40 p.m., company spokesperson Lena Kent told CNN in an email. "There were no injuries as a result of the derailment and preliminarily reports indicate there are no hazardous materials involved."
The derailment happened in Mohave County, Arizona, near the state's border with California.
A spokesperson for the Mohave County Sheriff's Office earlier said the train was reportedly carrying hazardous materials.
No spills have been reported, though there are washes running through the area from recent storms, Anita Mortensen, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office, said.
The derailment occurred near milepost 9 of Interstate 40, Mortensen said, which is a rural, non-residential area. The highway exit is home to a handful of truck stops and is about 20 miles north of Lake Havasu City.
An estimated eight cars derailed and are blocking the main track, according to Kent. The cause of the derailment is under investigation and it's not clear when the track will reopen, the freight railroad company said.
Another BNSF train derailed Thursday overnight on the Swinomish Reservation in Anacortes, Washington, causing thousands of gallons of diesel to leak, the Washington Department of Ecology tweeted Thursday morning.
"Spill happened on a berm & most of diesel leaked on land side. No injuries," the tweet read.
Roughly 2,500 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the soil from one of the locomotives involved, according to Mike Sibley, a federal on-scene coordinator for the Environmental Protection Agency. The Washington Department of Ecology initially reported that about 5,000 gallons had leaked.
"Our priority right now is to remove that contaminated soil, and then test the area to make sure we removed all of it, and then back fill with clean soil," Sibley said, adding that there have been no impacts to fish and wildlife caused by the derailment.
These latest derailments come a week after another train careened off the tracks in rural West Virginia, injuring three crew members and spilling diesel fuel into a nearby river, and over a month after a fiery derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, released potentially hazardous chemicals into the air, soil and water and required extensive cleanup efforts.
The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified of the incident and is responding to investigate, Mortensen said.
CNN has sought comment from the NTSB.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described what the train was carrying. It was carrying corn syrup, but no hazardous materials, according to BNSF Railway.
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